Speech Codes on College Campuses

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A Quick Fix:
Speech Codes on College Campuses
Beginning in the 1980's and going strong into the early 90's, speech codes on college campuses restricted the radical words that initiated protests by students, faculty, and staff members. Limitations defined by college administrators controlled the context and content of what its affiliates could say freely in the jurisdiction of the campus. In spite of this, outraged students demanded that their First Amendment rights be protected and took their colleges' speech codes to the court room. Although Federal Courts felt that speech codes were based on good intentions, the plaintiff's always brought home the gold. Speech codes were deemed unconstitutional under the ordinance that they were either "vague" or "overbroad" (as cited in Hudson Jr., 2005). Speech codes were quick fixes to a deeper problem; college administrators were putting a band-aid on a wound that needed stitches. Proponents advocating for speech codes on college campuses claimed that it provided a safe environment for the campuses affiliates. Students should not have had to fear repercussions for their "immutable characteristics" or opinions based on theories, beliefs, or morals (Fraleigh and Tuman, 1997, p. 170). Hate speech, which is any form of insult directed at a single group based on a similar characteristic, was the trigger that jump started speech codes. Regarded by some as unnecessary for the learning environment, hate speech has provoked many violent crimes, but even fiercer battles within the walls of the courtroom. Proponents maintained that hate speech was comparable to fighting words, a type of speech that does not receive First Amendment protection (Hudson Jr., 2005). Speech codes were not developed to restrict speech, but to protect the victims from the offensive words made by others on a college campus. To answer the question of whether speech codes were constitutional or not, we must look at both sides being argued. Advocates wished to...
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